Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 - Lotus 365: done

rocks from Lotus Bud's collection



I feel tenacious.

This is a good feeling.

The end of 2013 is here and it's come quickly to an end for me.  I feel sort of surprised that it's here.  I am happy to be done at the same time I feel good about my accomplishments.  I completed 365 days!

P.S. It's funny how I've been fussing over the shadows when in the end, in this final photo of the year, I'm glad to have these shadows because it shows the passing of the day and the year.
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Iron Craft: Time Crunch

This craft project has been going on for a few weeks and in two batches.  But the second batch was drying when the final Iron Craft project was assigned.  I figured that the fact that these needed to be painted and that we were pushing extremely close to Christmas made this a valid entry.  It all indeed feel like crunch time what with the hussle to get them painted and dried enough to hang on our tree.

Of course, I had to stop and get more paint but it was worth it!

We made salt dough and used her small cookie cutters to make the shapes.

All the blue and purple are the most recent ones we made.

This is our first tree since we moved into this house in 1997.  Most of the ornaments were from nearly twenty years ago and none but one is from one of our recent trips.  It felt really good to make lots of ornaments for our tree this year.  It was a full on family project with daddy stepping in with some free-style stuff.

Now the tree feels like us, personal and sweet.  It will be sad to take it down for the year.  I know chucking the tree is not going to go over well with the Lotus Bud.  But it has to be done.  I'm already talking to her about how trees live outside which isn't quite right with this fraser fir of ours, which will make the trip to a landfill sometime next week.  Oh well.  It sure was a blast while it lasted!

I managed to only do 8 Iron Craft challenges this year.  That's less than one a month.  I hope to do a few more in 2014!  Will you join me?

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Monday, December 30, 2013

The fairy wand and the dragon


It's been bitter cold outside and somehow through the stress of being confined in the house, I found pockets of unexpected entertainment.  The little lotus bud and I have come a very long way this year, yet I'm still in frustration mode while she's moved on to shock and awe.  She re-created the puppet shows we attend at North Mississippi Regional Park.  D and I sat back and enjoyed the show.

"puppet, puppets!  pleeasse come out!"
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Sunday, December 29, 2013

dried winter grapes

Dried grape vine off of our house.

I can't seem to get that crisp white background.  This got me outside today, braving the arctic air and chill northern winds.

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Saturday, December 28, 2013

a bit of snow


Her first time on cross county skis and she did great.  

The snow is up to her knees but that's just in a "shallow" spot.  It was a warm nearly forty-degree day and we were surrounded by all dense lush snow.  We played.

But not until we shoveled our way in, turned on the furnace, and looked around for visible tracks in the snow.

I found a few minutes to chase the light.  The sun already feeling stronger, warmer with the angle higher in the sky.

I found curious patches of snow.

Every winter I have this peak moment reveling on how all this white fluffy stuff gets dumped over everything; totally covers the outsides with inches and at times, feet of snow.  It still a wonder to me so long as I find intentional moments to breathe the crisp winter air and listen for the quiet shush of snow as it falls off the trees; droplets of snow melt finishing off the symphonic sounds of the woods.

I tried, I really did try today to soak it all up.  The arctic winds are coming down from the north as I type this, the city garden accouterments rattling in a bitter rustle and clang.  It's coming again - the deep cold.  This might be a good time to consider the benefits of hibernation.

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Friday, December 27, 2013

out for a stroll

It's been a while since their last visit.  It caused quite an excited stir around the hood.  Everyone feels a little extra special and lucky today to find the turkeys in the yards, on the decks or in the allies out for an afternoon stroll.  Some communities have been experiencing serious trouble, that's the news I've heard from a DNR guy.  For today, I'm going to just enjoy what feels like a blessing, came as it did on this balmy day, something that draws our memories away from the recent Arctic temps and helps us move steadily through the season into Spring.

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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Some of us were skating

While others went along for the ride.

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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

festive night

The day was filled with presents, some sledding and a lit-up tree.  

Right now it's a different feel for the end of the day.  The tree is still lit up, but now there's the blue glare from the television, the warmth of the fireplace on my back.  Relaxing, pressure-free.  I hesitate to say peaceful, but I will readily admit the calmest setting of the day.

Merry Christmas to you all and to all, a good night.  


P.S.  I guess it's been firmly established this year that we do Solstice and Christmas.  I believe that what we do is new to all three of us, so this has been an interesting experience of unexpected pockets of joy, awkward incidents of not knowing what to do, and rallying, determined to make it feel magical or special or something.

P.P.S.  It's been fun and hard and worth every minute.

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

blue fingers

Christmas eve day, the tension is thick in the air and I'm the source of it all.  So we pull out the paints and make the last-minute final touches of the ornaments we've been making.  Th family has taken on these weekend art projects.  Soon we will move on to snowflakes.  But for today, it was this gorgeous purple and blue shimmery paint for the salt dough ornaments which were slowly dried these last couple of days in a tray sitting on the dining table.  I'm so grateful for these moments.

She's so proud of her blue fingers.

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Monday, December 23, 2013

a slice of fraser fir


This was trimmed off our tree.  I love how there is still sap in it, making it seem all jewel-like.  So much life in a small piece of wood.

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Sunday, December 22, 2013

holiday music

all the different colors of love

It wasn't a hard decision to make.  Her daddy is home for the rest of the year and, it's getting cold outside.  Ice skating is probably out (for long periods of time, anyway).  They might as well get into some ukulele fun.  He's learning chords and such off the internet and she's strumming away, her dolls set up like a back-up band all around her and on cue.  Small spurts of intense joy in the house light up the gloom of dark, short days.

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Saturday, December 21, 2013

still, not quite...

D and Bud went to the trailer property without me.  When they first left, I had a twang of envy. I remembered too late that it was the Solstice and therefore, a wonderful time to be out in the woods.  When I finally got what I wanted - time to myself - it was hard for me to settle into the quiet house.  Weighted down, I suppose, from the pressure to best use this unexpected boon of alone time.  Putzing around with a load of laundry, wrapping presents, clicking some photos.  I was drifting and couldn't settle.

Last night I was thinking about the end of the Lotus365 project, not knowing what to do in 2014, I bumped through thoughts of what to do next.

I recently discovered STILL.  She does such amazing work.  I was encouraged by her warm online invitation to try it out.  Today's photo is my first attempt yet the result of an accident, which I'm sure is obvious.  But this image is the most interesting out of all the various things I tried.

Maybe this image says something about where I'm at right now.  I'm spinning from all these new things in my life, trying to slow my movement and find a center.  Probably not a bad way to start the seasonal year.

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Friday, December 20, 2013

the bird gang

They fly so fast from spot to spot, so loud and full of twitter.  It's amazing to me that they survived (and seem to thrive) on the arctic cold.  I suppose that's why they flit around so fast.  They never lose the group and the tight community, at least a couple of dozen all together.  They make me smile.

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

silly me!


I got up early this morning for a meeting.  I was so proud that I managed to wake in time to peel an egg and brew coffee.  I even got downtown with plenty of time to take some photos before the meeting!  I was up before the sun and loving the few quiet moments to myself.

Then I walked into the building, rode the elevator to the fourth floor, and strolled leisurely down the hall.  I abruptly stopped with shock when I found the room:

Yep, an empty room.

In other words, in case I've got to spell it out - no meeting!

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

random photo

Today we had a "heat wave" and it was glorious!  But the only photo I got was this random indoor shot.  Oh well.  I guess I was too busy enjoying the warm weather.  Hopefully we'll get a few more soon.


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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The life a tinker

I decided early on in this cold season to dedicate some time to knitting myself a series of hats in different colors.  I also decided to try some new stitches.  This one is a seed stitch which in theory I thought would be easy.  Oh, was I wrong.  I have tinked so much that it's become ridiculous.  I am tempted to scrap it entirely and start fresh because the band I think is a bit too short as well.  I have in fact scrapped the project for now, but I haven't tinked it as of yet.

While I was tinking on Saturday night, I spent a good amount of time thinking about how I have tinked more than I have knit on this darn project.  It took me quite awhile to realize that it is physically not possible to tink more than I knit.  Know what I mean?  That's how crazy I am right now over this hat!

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through the blue bubbles

Did you know that because of Earth's quirky elliptical orbit the days started getting longer this week?  The winter Solstice isn't scheduled until this Saturday.  Apparently we will gain upwards of nine minutes by the new year.  A friend I met yesterday said to me that when she sees snow she thinks that Spring is right around the corner.  I like that attitude.  Longer days and warmer temps would make this winter much more bearable.

Another friend of mine informed me that the new pillow I have may be the cause of my recurring shoulder problems.  I've got to test that out.

Good solutions this week for a number of my woes.  But my woes have me down and I did a decidedly not-brave thing yesterday.  I canceled a meeting that I had scheduled.  I canceled it because I did not know how to have the tough conversation that needed to be done.  I can't help but think the severe shoulder pain that woke me at 3am might have been from the tense feeling in my body resulting from this cancellation.

Oh well.  I have new responsibilities.  And I must realize that not everyday will be a courage-filled day.
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Monday, December 16, 2013

all ready for the robins


239 days ago our backyard was taken over by hundreds of robins.  These fat little birds ate every single winter-dried and shriveled grape hanging from the vines on our house.  They also left behind colorful, purple poo.  I hope they come back on their journey north!

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Sunday, December 15, 2013

airstream park under our tree

A friend of ours gave us several sets of Airstream christmas lights.  A bit tacky, yes, but fun nonetheless.  

We decided to hang them at the base of the tree and inadvertently created our own little airstream park!  They look to me like they are camped out at the base of an enormous tree, all snugly lit for the night to come.

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salt dough fun


Not to be dismayed by the lack of personal family ornaments, this family got together and put our creativity into action.

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Saturday, December 14, 2013

our first xmas tree

I was expecting to tie our tree to the roof of the Jeep.  Dave had other ideas.


No, sweetie. This is not our tree!
The tree that we picked out, a much shorter tree, is the first tree that Dave and I have gotten in over a decade.  But it is Bud's first tree and it is grand!  It sure spread after we set it up in our tiny house.  I thought we had agreed on a small tree and agreed that Moogy would make the final decision, but in the end, it was a family decision which is how I suppose our first tree should be.

After bringing the tree home, we spent several hours trying to locate the lights and ornaments.  There was less than I thought there would but more than enough for the tree.  The experience of opening up the one little box of xmas tree goodies brought me back to my retail  years, some twenty years past.  When all was said and done, the tree trimmed and ornamented,  I felt we had just that - a retail department store tree.  Only one little ornament that reflected our family life together.  Oh well.  I guess we will have to search for a little memento ornament on our next road trip!
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Friday, December 13, 2013

best seat in the house

A quiet Friday night in the city.  Pizza and Shrek.  Later, I'll be tussling with the cat to get closer to the fire.

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an abundance of squash

Today it's a squash, tomorrow it will be bread.

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Blue sky, sub-zero temps


Jeez Louise, you'd think I lived in Minnesota or some crazy cold state like that.  Oh wait!  I do.  I've had enough of this Canadian, Arctic air.  Enough, I say!  There is talk about temperatures in the mid-thirties next week and I'm already thinking about the short skirt I plan to wear.  Tomorrow there is a high predicted of 18 degrees.  Woot!  No, seriously, I'm thrilled.

Years ago when I was writing very bad poetry, I had dreams of publishing a book of poems simply titled "Blue."  Today's photo reminds me of my bad poetry years. 

This blue is quite remarkable, a blue that can perhaps only be achieved with sub-zero temps.  At least there is some good to come with the Arctic air.

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Indoor Tuesdays


There's a story behind this feather, of course.  Possibly of interest to no one but myself.  I've had a tumultuous couple of years, flitting from this group of mamas to that group, never finding something or someone that suited my interest.  My demands were high and plenty.  I demanded that Lotus Bud have freedom to roam and explore with the company of like-minded little ones.  I demanded that I find people who share similar parenting aspirations and foibles as myself.  I wanted both of us to be an environment of diversity and inclusion.  Surely this couldn't be too much to ask for?  Ah, but it was.

Recently I had rearranged our schedules to suit both of our needs.  I have enrolled Lotus Bud in an extra day of preschool so now she spends time away from me three days a week.  I figured that having three days to myself would allow me to finish my work, leaving Tuesday and Thursday open for her adventures and activities.

Yesterday, Tuesday, I left the house without turning on my computer or checking my email.  We headed to North Mississippi Regional Park where there are fantastic children's activities and an even better indoor nature-centered play area.  It is not a play area with slides and climbing walls, but rather an area filled with feathers and turtles, plastic vegetables and the most adorable wearable wings.  It was the perfect place to spend the entire morning on a chilly, sub-zero temperature day.  We met one of her Montessori preschool buddies and, she, her friend, brought along her Dad - a person who I have really enjoyed getting to know and it tickles me that I met him through my daughter.  I am finally finding activities and people who fill those needs of mine.

The morning's planned activity was cancelled but that didn't stop us from playing.  But soon enough the place got overrun by a small group from a different preschool, one that is boasted about, one very elite, expensive preschool. The memory of that morning bears noting because it was then that I realized the benefits of Montessori education which is indeed diverse and inclusive.  Lotus bud and her friend O were caring and compassionate, collaborative and cooperative, trying to be inclusive and generally happy playing by themselves, away from me and the other Dad.  In contrast the other children were quite disruptive, tantrum-y and (can I just say it?) rude.  At one point, an older boy grabbed a stuffed fish from Bud's hand and threw it across the room.  His parent glared at me for soothingly saying to my child that in life we will encounter unkind actions but we must remain kind and find other things to do.  I was calm on the outside, but fuming madly inside.

Anyway, so I hope to never encounter this group again.  The park we went to was in North Minneapolis, a part of town that many of these folks would never ordinarily venture.  I believe it was morning designed for me to learn a lesson and that lesson is this:  Montessori education values high social IQ and that is a good foundation for creating caring and compassionate adults.  I was shocked with the recent tuition hike at Bud's school which comes close to our monthly mortgage payment, but now I know it is well worth the cost.

Oh, and also, I learned I have an awesome child!!!
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Monday, December 9, 2013

Winter Buddha

Spring, summer, and fall fill us with hope; winter alone reminds us of the human condition.
-- Mignon McLaughlin


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Sunday, December 8, 2013

in the words of Bob Marley

one little bird
pitched by my doorstep
singing a sweet song
a melody pure and true
singing this is my message to you-who-who
singing don't worry about a thing
cuz every little thing is going to be all right

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Winter concert

Little Lotus Bud had her winter concert and this time around it went no better than before.  She was crying in front of the large crowd.  I wish there was something I could do.  Her preschool class is much younger this year and I saw many of the younger ones take on the challenge.  They were all so very cute.  I wish she could get over her fear.  I would love to see her do a duet or a smaller group sing-a-long.

D thinks she gets that from him.  I agree.

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Friday, December 6, 2013

trapped in another way

We expected the snow, it was the cold that caught us unprepared.  It's hard to imagine the reality of single digit temps until the cold penetrates to the bones of my body.  I suspect this bike may be stuck for a while.

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I was feeling trapped all day until we finally got out to get some groceries from the Co-op.

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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Let it snow!

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peaceful by the river

Too tired and too busy with work catch-up for a photo for a photo today so this one will have to do.  And I think it does well.


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Monday, December 2, 2013

The good life

I like Nebraska a lot. "The good life" is the state's slogan. The state is full of good people. I enjoy our annual trek across Nebraska. Sometimes the skies are full of birds. 

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